The Wind in the Willows (1983 film)

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The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Mark Hall
Chris Taylor
Produced by Brian Cosgrove
Mark Hall
John Hambley
Written by Rosemary Anne Sisson (Screenplay)
Based on The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Starring David Jason
Richard Pearson
Ian Carmichael
Michael Hordern
Beryl Reid
Una Stubbs
Music by Keith Hopwood
Malcolm Rowe
Edited by John McManus
Production
company
Cosgrove Hall Films
Distributed by Independent Television (ITV)
Release date
27 December 1983 (UK)
Running time
79 min.
Country UK
Language English

The Wind in the Willows is a 1983 British stop motion animated film produced by Cosgrove Hall Films for Thames Television and aired on the ITV network. The film is based on Kenneth Grahame's classic story The Wind in the Willows. It won a BAFTA[1][2] award and an international Emmy award.[2]

Subsequently, the studio made a 52 episode series,[2] The Wind in the Willows based on characters from the Wind in the Willows between 1984 and 1990. Music & songs composed by Keith Hopwood, late of Herman's Hermits & Malcolm Rowe.[3] The Stone Roses guitarist John Squire worked on this series as a set artist. Voice actors on this adaptation included David Jason, Ian Carmichael and Michael Hordern.[3]

Plot[edit]

Fed up with spring cleaning, Mole (Richard Pearson) ventures out of his underground home. He goes for a walk in the countryside and soon comes to a river where he meets and befriends Ratty (Ian Carmichael) (who lives there). Rat takes Mole on a picnic where they notice Badger (Michael Hordern) (who appears behind the bushes) and ask him to join them, but he just mutters "Hmmm! Company!" and walks off home (though he still is their friend). Rat starts to warn Mole of the Wild Wood and its inhabitants, but they are interrupted by the arrival of the Chief Weasel (David Jason) and his henchman. While the Chief distracts them, his henchmen steals a jar of potted meat and they make their getaway. Ratty then takes Mole to visit their friend Toad (Also voiced by David Jason) at Toad Hall, and Toad asks them to come with him on a caravan trip on the Open Road; with his horse Alfred pulling it. On the group's first camp out for the night, Ratty really misses his home on the river but does not want to disappoint his friends. On the Open Road, disaster strikes as a passing motorcar sends Alfred into a panic and the caravan into a ditch. Toad suddenly decides he no longer wants to travel by Alfred and the caravan cart, and thinks that motor cars are the only way to travel. As time goes by, Rat and Mole can do nothing but look on as Toad buys and then almost immediately crashes his cars one after another. In winter, Rat and Mole are extremely worried and they decide to call on Badger to see if he has any suggestions; if there's anyone Toad will listen to, it is Badger. But Rat fell asleep, refusing to take Mole to the Wild Wood.

Mole then decides to go alone to the Wild Wood to see Badger. He asks a henchman weasel for directions to Badger's house, but he tells Mole the wrong way to go and he becomes lost and scared when the Weasels stalk him. His cry for Rat echoed, and back at the river bank; it wakes him up. Ratty soon notices Mole's absence and finds a note written by Mole telling him where he has gone. Rat takes some pistols and a cudgel and hurries along to the Wild Wood to find him. After Rat finds Mole, they literally stumble across Badger's house (Mole hurts his foot on Badger's door scraper buried in the snow) and knocks on the door. Badger, annoyed at his relaxing night being disturbed, opens the door and gets ready to tell off whoever it is who has interrupted his rest, but on seeing that it is Rat and Mole outside, he lets them in. They warm themselves in front of the fire and Badger offers them each a hot drink. They discuss Toad's careless driving. The next morning they turn up at Toad Hall and try to tell Toad that what he is doing is wrong, and attempt to make him promise that he will never go near a motor car again. But Toad won't listen to Badger's advice, so the three lock Toad in his bedroom; ensuring they guard him day and night. The next day, Toad feigns (fake) illness and asks Ratty to fetch a lawyer. Toad then escapes and Rat, Badger and Mole chase Toad but can't find him. Toad stops a motorist "Reggie" (Jonathan Cecil) (who consistently mistakes him for a frog) and his wife "Rosemary," (Una Stubbs) tricks them and steals their car, and shouts insults at a policeman (who came to report them of the incident), calling him a "Fat face!" after nearly running them over. Meanwhile, Mole becomes homesick and he and Ratty visit Mole End, and spend Christmas there. Some Caroling field mice turn up and after they have finish their song, Rat and Mole invite them inside for a Christmas feast, but they don't have very good news to share. When the field mice tells Rat and Mole that Toad has been arrested, they become consumed with guilt for their friend.

Meanwhile, in the court, Mrs. Carrington-Moss; (Beryl Reid) the magistrate herself sentenced Toad to "twelve months for the theft, three years for furious driving, and fifteen years for the cheek", with another year added for "being green" which makes "twenty years" in jail. The Jailer's Daughter (Also voiced by Una Stubbs) feels sorry for Toad and helps him escape by disguising him as a "Washerwoman". Toad acts his way as the humble "washerwoman" into a train driver (Edward Kelsey) at a local railway giving him a free ride home, but it isn't long until another train with the Police, Reggie, Rosemary, Mrs. Carrington-Moss and the Clerk are after him. Toad is found out but the engine driver still lets him escape by throwing him off the train and into a field. Toad calls in at Ratty's on the way home and Rat tells him the Weasels have over thrown Badger and taken over Toad Hall. Toad is upset after losing his ancestral home, but Badger has a plan. The next night, the friends sneak through the secret tunnel and fight the weasels (except Toad, who is fooling around on his chandeliers). But he manages to fall on top of the Chief Weasel and knock him unconscious. After victory, Badger, Mole, and Ratty settle down and think of the peaceful future, until Toad flies by in his new "Flying Machine". The other river bankers are enraged until Toad's machine engine runs out. Everyone then becomes horrified as they watch Toad fall into the river along with the plane. During the end credits, the river bankers are pulling Toad out of the river.


Behind the Scenes[edit]

The main banqueting hall and grand staircase of Toad Hall was inspired by the one in Leap Castle in Ireland.[4]

Cast[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]